Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 27–41 | Cite as

Ethnic bias in the recognition of facial expressions

  • Janet E. Kilbride
  • Matthew Yarczower


Ethnic bias in the recognition of facial expressions was assessed by having college students from the United States and Zambia assign emotion labels to facial expressions produced by imitation by United States and Zambian students. Bidirectional ethnic bias was revealed by the fact that Zambian raters labeled the Zambian facial expressions with less uncertainty than the U.S. facial expressions, and that U.S. raters labeled the U.S. facial expressions with less uncertainty than the Zambian facial expressions. In addition, the Facial Action Coding System was used to assess accuracy in the imitation of facial expressions. These results and the results of other analyses of recognition accuracy are reported.


College Student Social Psychology Facial Expression Recognition Accuracy Code System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References Note

  1. Kilbride, J.E., Kocs, N.J., & Yarczower, M.Cultural bias in the recognition of facial expressions: component and social judgment analyses. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research, Philadelphia, PA, February 23, 1980.Google Scholar


  1. Boucher, J.D., & Carlson, G.E. Recognition of facial expression in three cultures.Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1980,11, 263–280.Google Scholar
  2. Brigham, J.C., & Williamson, N.L. Cross-racial recognition and age: When you're over 60, do they still ‘all look alike?’Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1979,5, 218–222.Google Scholar
  3. Deregowski, J.B., Ellis, H.D., & Shepherd, J.W. Description of White and Black faces by White and Black subjects.International Journal of Psychology, 1975,10, 119–123.Google Scholar
  4. Ekman, P. Cross-cultural studies of facial expression. In P. Ekman (Ed.),Darwin and facial expression. New York: Academic Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  5. Ekman, P. Biological and cultural contributions to body and facial movements. In J. Blacking (Ed.),The anthropology of the body. London: Academic Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  6. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W.V.The facial action coding system. Palo Alto, Calif.: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  7. Feinman S., & Entwisle, D. Children's ability to recognize other children's faces.Child Development, 1976,47, 506–510.Google Scholar
  8. Galper, R.E. ‘Functional race membership’ and recognition of faces.Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1973,37, 455–462.Google Scholar
  9. Geen, R.G., & Gange, J.J. Drive theory of social facilitation: twelve years of theory and research.Psychological Bulletin, 1977,84, 1267–1288.Google Scholar
  10. Gitter, A.G., Black, H., & Mostofsky, D. Race and sex in the perception of emotion.Journal of Social Issues, 1972,28, 63–78.Google Scholar
  11. Izard, C.E.The face of emotion. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1971.Google Scholar
  12. Kilbride, J.E., & Yarczower, M. Recognition of happy and sad facial expressions among Baganda and U.S. children.Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1976,7, 181–194.Google Scholar
  13. Kilbride, J.E., & Yarczower, M. Recognition and imitation of facial expressions: a cross-cultural comparison between Zambia and the United States.Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1980,11, 281–296.Google Scholar
  14. Malpass, R.S., & Kravitz, J. Recognition for faces of own and other race.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1969,13, 330–334.Google Scholar
  15. Markus, H. The effect of mere presence on social facilitation: An unobtrusive test.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1978,14, 389–397.Google Scholar
  16. McGee, V.E.Principles of statistics: Traditional and Bayesian. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1971.Google Scholar
  17. Shepherd, J.W., Deregowski, J.B., & Ellis, H.D. A cross-cultural study of recognition memory for faces.International Journal of Psychology, 1974,9, 205–211.Google Scholar
  18. Tomkins, S.S. Affect as amplification: Some modifications in theory. In R. Plutchik & H. Kellerman (Eds.), Emotion: theory, research, and experience (Vol. 1). New York: Academic Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  19. Tomkins, S.S. The quest for primary motives: Biography and autobiography of an idea.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1981,41, 306–329.Google Scholar
  20. Yarczower, M., Kilbride, J.E., & Hill, L.A. Imitation and inhibition of facial expressions.Developmental Psychology, 1979,15, 453–454.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet E. Kilbride
    • 1
  • Matthew Yarczower
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Individual and Family StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewark
  2. 2.the Department of Psychology at Bryn Mawr CollegeBryn Mawr

Personalised recommendations